The Tennessee Volunteers came into today’s Music City Bowl match-up as favorites against another one of college football’s historic programs, the Nebraska Cornhuskers. They didn’t let off the gas pedal in this game in route to a 38-24 victory. Tennessee came into this game wearing their Smoky Grey uniforms in honor of the those affected by the Gatlinburg wildfires.
There were several memorable highlights in the game. Whether it was when Derek Barnett broke the late Reggie White’s career sack record with 33 or Josh Dobbs’ spectacular performance passing for 291 yards and a score while also rushing for 118 yards and 3 scores, there was a lot to like. Dobbs also broke Heath Shuler’s quarterback rushing touchdown record with 12 on the season. Josh Dobbs also entered into elite company in the SEC. He became only 1 of 3 quarterbacks to pass for more than 15 touchdowns and run for 10 in consecutive seasons. The other quarterbacks were Tim Tebow and Dak Prescott. This was overall a complete victory put together by Team 120 filled with explosive plays and defensive stops.
There was a lot to like in Tennessee’s victory over Nebraska. The offense amassed a total of 521 yards on the day while giving up only 318 yards on defense. Tennessee’s stars shined today as Josh Dobbs, Alvin Kamara, and John Kelly ran all over the Nebraska defense. You also can’t forget the 59-yard bomb from Dobbs to Josh Malone for a touchdown. This wasn’t all about the offense though as the defense stepped up and only allowed 61 yards on the ground, held Nebraska to 31 percent on third down, and came up with 4 sacks, 7 tackles for loss, and several quarterback hurries. Barnett dominated the line of scrimmage in what was likely his last Tennessee game.
Tennessee’s night wasn’t without blemish as the Volunteers gave up a fumble early in the fourth quarter which led to a Nebraska touchdown. The offense also could have been even more spectacular if Kamara did not drop a sure TD early in the game. Moving forward, the future is cloudy for Tennessee as several starters will either be graduating or going into the NFL draft.
Tennessee’s season was full of highs and lows. However, they finished on a high note against one of college football’s most respected programs. They had an explosive day on offense and stingy day on defense all while breaking records. The Volunteers are likely to enter the 2017 season with a top 25 ranking and look to improve on their 9-4 season in 2016. Tennessee earned its third straight bowl win. The first time the program accomplished the feat since 1994-1996. It also finished with back to back 9 win seasons for the first time since 2006 and 2007. Finally, a thank you to all the Tennessee seniors and those entering into the NFL draft for “Giving your all for Tennessee”.